Job Specialities


A person who receives reports of discovery and status of fires, confirms their locations, takes action promptly to provide people and equipment likely to be needed for control efforts.

Education/Prevention Specialist:

Serves as media contact and educates the public about wildland fires as well as safety measures that may be taken to protect property.

Engine Crew:

Serves on a fire crew that uses equipment associated with wildland fire engines, including pumps and hoses as well as traditional handcrew equipment.

Fire Lookout:

Serves as locator for fires in remote locations and informs emergency response units of new fires.


Serves as a crewmember who works on prescribed fires, fuels reduction projects, and fires that are managed for resource benefits.


Intensively trained fire crew used primarily in handline construction (Type-1).

Incident Commander:

Individual responsible for the management of all incident operations.


Specialized, experienced firefighters who parachute into remote areas for initial attack on wildland fires.

Wildland Firefighter:

Serves as a crewmember on a on any of the following types of crews: Hand; Engine; Helitack (helicopter); Wildland Fire Use; Hot Shot; Fuels Management; or Detection; using a variety of specialized tools, equipment, and techniques on wildland and prescribed fire.


Backpack Pump:

A portable sprayer with hand-pump, fed from a liquid filled container fitted with straps, used mainly in fire and pest control.

Drip Torch:

Hand-held device for igniting fires by dripping flaming liquid fuel on the materials to be burned.


A combination rake and hoe used for cutting and clearing surface brush. Named after its inventor.


A combination chopping and trenching tool which combines a single-bitted axe blade with a narrow adze-like trenching blade fitted to a straight handle.

Glossary of Wildland Fire Management Terms

Air Attack:

Deployment of fixed-wing or rotary aircraft on a wildland fire, to drop retardant or extinguishing agents, shuttle and deploy crews and supplies or perform aerial reconnaissance of the overall fire situation.


Fixed-wing aircraft certified by FAA as being capable of transport and delivery of fire retardant solutions.


The status of a wildfire suppression action signifying that a control line has been completed around the fire, and any associated spot fires, which can reasonably be expected to stop the fire's spread.


The completion of control line around a fire, any spot fires there from, and any interior islands to be saved; burned out any unburned area adjacent to the fire side of the control lines; and cool down all hot spots that are immediate threats to the control line, until the lines can reasonably be expected to hold under the foreseeable conditions.

Fire Behavior:

The manner in which a fire reacts to the influences of fuel, weather, and topography.

Fire Effects:

The physical, biological, and ecological impacts of fire on the environment.

Fire Line:

The part of the control line that is scraped or dug in the soil.

Fire Management:

Activities required for the protection of burnable wildland values from fire and the use of prescribed fire to meet land management objectives.

Fire Resources:

All personnel and equipment available for assignment to incidents.

Fire Retardant:

Any substance except plain water that reduces flammability to fuels or slows their rate of combustion.

Fire Shelter:

An aluminized cloth tent that offers protection in a fire entrapment situation by reflecting radiant heat and providing a volume of breathable air.

Fire Storm:

Violent convection caused by a large continuous area of intense fire. Often characterized by destructively violent surface indrafts, near and beyond the perimeter, and sometimes by tornado-like whirls.


A natural or constructed barrier used to stop or check fires that may occur, or to provide a control line from which to work.


Any sudden acceleration in rate of spread or intensification of the fire. Unlike blowup, a flare-up is of relatively short duration and does not radically change existing control plans.


Combustible material.

Fuel Break:

A natural or manmade change in fuel characteristics which affects fire behavior so that fires burning into them can be more readily controlled.

Hot Spot:

A particularly active part of a fire.

Incident Command Post (ICP):

Location at which primary command functions are executed. The ICP may be collocated with the incident base or other incident facilities.


Extinguishing or removing burning material near control lines, felling snags, and trenching logs to prevent rolling after an area has burned, to make a fire safe, or to reduce residual smoke.

Preparedness (Activity & Mental):

Activities that lead to a safe, efficient, and cost-effective fire management program in support of land and resource management objectives through appropriate planning and coordination. Mental readiness to recognize changes in fire danger and act promptly when action is appropriate.

Prescribed Burning:

Application of prescribed fire.

Prescribed Fire:

A wildland fire originating from a planned ignition in accordance with applicable laws, policies, and regulations to meet specific objectives.


Activities directed at reducing the incidence of human-caused wildfires, including public education, law enforcement, personal contact, and other actions taken to reduce ignitions.


The actions taken to limit the adverse environmental, social, political, and economical effects of fire.


Efforts undertaken within three years of a wildland fire to repair or improve fire damaged lands unlikely to recover to a management approved conditions or to repair or replace minor facilities damaged by fire.

Spot Fire:

Fire ignited outside the perimeter of the main fire by a firebrand.

Suppress a Fire:

The most aggressive wildfire suppression strategy leading to the total extinguishment of a wildfire.


All the work to extinguish or limit wildland fire spread.


A fire that consumes surface fuels but not the overstory canopy (trees and shrubs).


A wildland fire originating from an unplanned ignition, such as lightning, volcanos, unauthorized and accidental human caused fires, and prescribed fires that are declared wildfires.


An area in which development is essentially non-existent, except for roads, railroads, powerlines, and similar transportation facilities. Structures, if any, are widely scattered.

Wildland Fire:

Any non-structure fire that occurs in vegetation or natural fuels. Includes Wildfires and Prescribed Fires.

Wildland Fire Use:

The application of the appropriate management response to naturally ignited wildland fires to accomplish specific resource management objective in predefined designated areas outlined in Fire Management Plans.

Wildland/Urban Interface:

The line, area, or zone where structures and other human development meet or intermingle with undeveloped wildland or vegetative fuels.